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South Dakota launches impeachment probe into attorney general after fatal crash

South Dakota launches impeachment probe into attorney general after fatal crash
South Dakota lawmakers on Tuesday agreed to launch an investigation to consider the impeachment of Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg. Photo courtesy of South Dakota Department of Public Safety/Website 

Nov. 10 (UPI) -- South Dakota lawmakers have launched an investigation into whether to impeach Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, a year after he was involved in a fatal car crash.

The state's Republican-majority House of Representatives on Tuesday voted 58-10 during a special session to form the nine-member Special Investigative Committee on Impeachment that will consider if Ravnsborg, 44, can or should be impeached in connection to the death of Joseph Boever, 55, on Sept. 12 of last year.

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Ravnsborg drove his car onto the shoulder of Highway 14, hitting Boever who was walking on the side of the road with a flashlight. Boever's body was not found until the next day.

Police said the Republican attorney general was distracted when he hit Boever, and he pleaded no contest in August to misdemeanor charges in exchange for no jail time in connection to the fatal crash.

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Instead, he was ordered to pay $500 for one count of operating a motor vehicle while using a mobile electronic device, $500 for one count of misdemeanor lane driving and more than $3,000 in court fees.

House Speaker Spencer Gosch told reporters that the first priority of the committee, which he is a member of, will be to determine how it will conduct its business followed by issuing subpoenas for witnesses and materials related to the crash.

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Recommendations may not be made until January of next year, he said.

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"We need to know what we can and can't do before we move forward," he said. "I'm not speculating anything beyond step one."

After the plea deal was announced in late summer, Gov. Kristi Noem called for Ravnsborg's resignation, stating she was "outraged" with the result.

"Ravnsborg has not accepted responsibility for the death of Joseph Boever and did not even appear in court today to face the charges of the Boever family," she said in a statement.

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Boever's wife, Jenny Boever, told the Sioux Falls Argus Leader on Tuesday that Ravnsborg needs to be impeached.

"They just need to make the right decision and take him out of this because there is going to be no closure until something is figured out," she said.

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